Overlord

Spoiler Alert!

“Hi, Momonga. It’s been a while”, said the runny blob-like creature sitting across the table from you.

“Ah, Herohero!”, you say. “I didn’t expect to see you here today. It’s been about two years now.”

“It’s been that long? I’ve been working overtime a lot lately and my body’s a wreck. I’m surprised that Nazarick is still up. You must have done a lot of work as guild leader to keep it up and running.”

“Nazarick is something that we’ve all built together.”

“Well, thanks for all your hard work. Maybe we can meet up again sometime.”

One last farewell…

With that, Herohero disappears, having logged out of the game.

Today is the day that the servers of the online game YGGDRASIL are to be shut down at midnight.

Many of the best times of your life were done while playing YGGDRASIL: going on quests with your friends, collecting ultra-rare items, defending your guild headquarters from Player Killers and so forth.

And yet, you now find yourself all alone at the guild’s headquarters, the Great Tomb of Nazarick, with only the NPCs for company.

The other guild members have lives in the real world to get back to, you suppose.

You spend the final hours of the game wandering the tomb’s halls, reminiscing of good times while carrying the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown, a legendary item that the guild members have spent much of their overtime pay and holidays to construct!

Sitting at the throne one last time….

Finally, you go to the Throne Room on the 10th Floor and sit on the throne. Next to you, the succubus Albedo awaits your commands.

Hmm, what are her settings?

You use your administrator privileges to access Albedo’s NPC settings and skim through them.

…demoness…Guardian Overseer…uh huh…twisted, being merciless and cruel…perfect beauty…a bitch?!

Well, the game’s almost over so why not?

You delete the words “Incidentally, she is a bitch” from the settings and replace them with “She is in love with Momonga.”

You see the game’s clock tick closer by the second to midnight and close your eyes.

It’s been fun.

Hmm?

You open your eyes and find yourself still sitting in the throne room.

Isn’t it past midnight now? Did they push back the server shutdown?

You try to access your player console but couldn’t. Maybe you should call a GM…

What’s happening?!

“What’s wrong, Lord Momonga?”

A female voice? Where did it come from??

Albedo?! But NPCs don’t talk…

Overlord (オーバーロード, Ōbārōdo) is a light novel series, manga and anime written by Kugane Maruyama (丸山 くがね, Maruyama Kugane).

In the year 2126, a Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (DMMO-RPG), YGGDRASIL, was released to the public. The game quickly became extremely popular for allowing its players to fully immerse themselves in a highly detailed, interactive, virtual game environment. After an eventful twelve years, the game’s servers are to be shut down. Within this game, there is a guild called Ainz Ooal Gown, which once consisted of 41 members but now only four remained including its leader, the lich Momonga. Saddened by news of the shutdown and reminiscing all the good times he shared with his fellow players on YGGDRASIL, Momonga finds himself alone at the guild’s headquarters and underground dungeon, the Great Tomb of Nazarick, and decides to stay logged in within the game until the shutdown.

Satoru Suzuki staying with the game to the end.

When the shutdown occurs at midnight, Momonga still finds himself within Nazarick. He quickly realizes that he is trapped in his game avatar and that the Tomb’s NPCs (Non-Player Characters) have all somehow become sentient, living creatures completely loyal to him. Taking stock of the situation, Momonga discovers that Nazarick has become a fully realistic location in a world completely different from Earth. Deciding to search for other YGGDRASIL players and uncover the reasons why he and Nazarick were transported to the New World, Momonga takes the name Ainz Ooal Gown as his own in order to attract those familiar with the game. He also resolves to protect Nazarick and its inhabitants, as the legacy of his YGGDRASIL exploits, from any and all threats.

Carne Village, the nearest settlement to Nazarick

Ainz’s exploits on the New World include the rescue of the nearby Carne Village from a band of marauding soldiers, the conquest of the local lizardmen tribes, and an alliance with the Baharuth Empire to have Nazarick recognized as the capital of the newly-founded Sorcerer Kingdom, with Ainz himself as King. In addition, one of the Nazarick Floor Guardians, Demiurge, has independently subverted the Eight Fingers crime syndicate, turning it into a secret ally of Nazarick.

As a result of being far, far more powerful than most of the inhabitants of the New World, Ainz gradually finds himself having fewer and fewer qualms with killing people and committing unspeakable atrocities. Since many of the Nazarick denizens are inhuman and evil, they have interpreted Ainz’s actions as steps towards world domination and will help him achieve that at any cost.

The Nazarick Floor Guardians, left to right: Demiurge, Mare, Aura, Albedo, Cocytus, Shalltear

Main Characters

Ainz Ooal Gown, a lich (a powerful undead magician) and the master of the Great Tomb of Nazarick. In YGGDRASIL, he was known as Momonga, the game avatar of Satoru Suzuki (鈴木悟, Suzuki Satoru), an ordinary Japanese salaryman. Cautious and somewhat unconfident, Ainz now finds himself having to play the role of a confident, charismatic leader, benevolent to his charges and ruthless to his enemies. Whenever he feels strong emotion, something within him suppresses it, allowing him to remain logical and unfeeling most of the time. As a former guildmaster from an online game, Ainz retains the ability to cast hundreds of magic spells and has access to the many resources within Nazarick, including YGGDRASIL items that could be considered legendary, magical artifacts in the New World. He sees the inhabitants of Nazarick as his children, the treasured legacy of the only things he valued in life – his friends in the YGGDRASIL game.

In the New World, Ainz has established a second identity as Momon, an adamantite-ranked adventurer, in order to travel incognito, build his reputation and indulge in occasional classic adventuring.

Momon, the Dark Hero

Albedo, a succubus and the overseer of the Nazarick Floor Guardians. Cruel, remorseless and generally level-headed, she manages the internal affairs of Nazarick and serves as Ainz’s second-in-command. As a result of Ainz changing her NPC settings just before arriving on the New World, Albedo is now deeply in love with Ainz and prone to extreme fits of jealousy whenever he appears to spend time with other women. Unknown to Ainz, Albedo secretly considers the other members of the Ainz Ooal Gown guild to be traitors and has vowed to murder any YGGDRASIL players found before they become rivals to her love’s power.

Shalltear Bloodfallen, a vampire and the Guardian of the first, second and third floors of Nazarick. Flirtatious and sadistic, she possesses a wide variety of combat and magic skills, giving her a diverse set of abilities on top of her natural abilities as a vampire. Shalltear is also a sexual deviant, having a taste for necrophilia and sadomasochism. Completely loyal to and in love with Ainz, she dedicates her best efforts to his goals and his terrified of failing him. She is a rival of Albedo for their master’s love and they bicker quite often as a result. After being mind-controlled into attacking Ainz at one point, Shalltear fell into a depression until she was “punished” by Ainz by using her as a chair!

Mesmerized by a powerful artifact, Shalltear attacks Ainz

Demiurge, an arch-devil and the Guardian of the seventh floor of Nazarick. Intelligent, polite, devious and utterly without conscience, he is extremely dangerous in his capacity as Nazarick’s strategist. It was Demiurge who first had the idea that Ainz wanted to conquer the world based on an off-hand comment that Ainz himself later forgot. While completely loyal to his master, Demiurge doesn’t realize that Ainz isn’t as smart or as ruthless as he believes, often taking the lich’s more innocuous actions and interpreting them as steps of a far grander plan. An example of this is Ainz’s rescue of Carne Village in a rare act of pure altruism. Demiurge has assumed this to be the first step in building a kingdom through benevolent rule. Unknown to Ainz, Demiurge is using humans as “natural resources”, from using their flayed skin for crafting magic scrolls to using them as subjects for horrific breeding experiments.

Cocytus, a hulking vermin lord and the Guardian of the fifth floor of Nazarick. Straight-forward and disciplined, he is a veteran warrior with some abilities in ice magic. An expert in all weapons, Cocytus follows a strict code of honor in battle and has a deep respect for those he considers fellow warriors. When Ainz targets the local lizardmen for conquest, Cocytus is impressed by their courage in the face of impossible odds and argues for their integration into Nazarick’s burgeoning holdings. Because of this, he is given leadership over the lizardmen tribes as part of Ainz’s experiment in the governance of a kingdom.

Cocytus vs. the lizardmen

Aura Bella Fiora, a female 76-year old dark elf (around 14 by human age) and co-Guardian of the sixth floor of Nazarick with her twin brother Mare. A cheerful, energetic tomboy, Aura cares for the non-sentient beasts that dwell within Nazarick and is keen on finding more exotic specimens. Despite this, she is terrified of insects. Aura tends to be dominant in her relationship with her brother, often telling him what to do yet trying to encourage him to be more assertive.

Mare Bello Fiore, a male (yes, male!) 76-year old dark elf and co-Guardian of the sixth floor of Nazarick with his twin sister Aura. Shy, insecure and mild-mannered, Mare is his sister’s polar opposite, with their precocious crush on Ainz being one of the few traits they do share. Mare’s appearance belies a terrifying degree of superhuman strength and her personality does not hinder her ability to carry out Ainz’s commands, no matter how ruthless. Unlike his sister, Mare is interested in reading and collecting plants and is skilled in nature-based magic, capable of making plants grow quickly and causing earthquakes.

The capital of the Re-Estize Kingdom, the first kingdom explored by Ainz

Personal Thoughts

Leaving behind an unfulfilling, mundane life in the real world and having invested his life’s accomplishments in an online game, Ainz has devoted himself to protecting the legacy left behind by his friends. Unfortunately, he has willfully blinded himself to the cruelty and evil committed by his cohorts in the New World. He also finds himself continually acting the role of a ruthless overlord in order to maintain their loyalty to him and they, in turn, believe him to be more devious and ruthless than he really his.

With no one to rein him in, Ainz gradually commits ever more heinous atrocities such as murder, torture and feeding humans to monsters, with some small part of his mind believing he should feel shame and disgust but he literally couldn’t. This creates a vicious cycle that threatens to destroy the human within him.

The entrance of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, a massive dungeon consisting of ten cavernous, underground floors

The utter loyalty of the Nazarick denizens, while noble in itself, actually encourages Ainz’s more reprehensible actions, since most of them are contemptuous of humans in general. Believing their leader to be the embodiment of power itself, the inhabitants are unknowingly helping to create the very overlord of evil they look up to. This is an example of how blind loyalty can encourage the worst traits in people.

Moral

Having too much power can eventually lead to corruption, especially if enabled by the blind loyalty of others.

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